The Morbius Trailer has recently dropped and before Jenn or I could get around to actually reviewing/reacting to it, the big spoilers were all over the place, and people were asking us about whether or not the film was in the MCU. We have some big reasons as to why we don’t believe it takes place in the MCU, which we’ll elaborate on below.
We’ll start with something less obvious, an unassuming detail that’s easy to miss, but paints a huge picture. Avengers Tower/Stark Tower/whatever you want to call it Tower is not in the New York skyline. This is a defining feature of the MCU, and was present in one way or another in every MCU Spider-Man Trailer for both Homecoming and Far From Home. If they wanted to set this film in the MCU the most blatant way to do so is to show that one building. They go so far as to show us an overhead view of 42nd Street in the next image, but they chose not pivot the angle to a proper view of the building and/or didn’t put it in there to begin with. The building should be there, right on the left. The reason? This is my theory, but Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters (the SUMC) is not allowed to use items or characters introduced in Marvel Studios produced films, but characters and items from films with Sony attached (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Venom) are all fair game.
Exhibit 2: The poster Michael Morbius passes with his prison attire, of Spider-Man defaced with the word “Murderer” across it; IT’S THE WRONG SPIDER-MAN! It is not a costume ever worn by Tom Holland’s version of the character. In fact, it’s the Toby Maguire costume worn in the Raimi trilogy… taken from an in-game photo of Spider-Man on PS4.
WHY would the prop department go through the trouble of making a poster of Spider-Man, printing it out, roughing it up, defacing it with graffiti, only to use the wrong Spider-Man? Well, remember all those suits worn by Peter Parker? They were all made by Tony Stark. And the cheap suit created by Peter himself? Introduced in Civil War. Again, this coincides with my opinion that they cannot use items introduced through Marvel Studios. The concept of Spidey being a murderer does seem to be a direct reference to the end of Far From Home, however. So thematically it could be tangentially connected, though finer details may be conveniently glossed over.
And then there’s that sting at the end of the Trailer where we see Keaton’s character once again, last seen at the end of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming in the same prison outfit. The Vulture was a character introduced in the Sony films, as opposed to the Disney owned films. I expect we can get to see characters like him show up, but say, Happy and Aunt May? They’ll need to remain out of the fun, if my theory is correct.
Going back to the Variety article from Sept 27th of last year, wherein they revealed Spider-Man would remain in the MCU after a new contract was signed, Feige’s comments seem to suggest there are two separate universes between the MCU and the SUMC. “Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.” This is Feige’s personal separation from Sony’s universe, but also a concession to understanding the shared rights. As Amy Pascal likes to deem their SUMC, it’s “MCU adjacent.”